History of FKFS

In 1998, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jochen Wiedemann succeeded Prof. Essers as Chair of Automotive Engineering. In the same year, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Bargende assumed the Chair of Internal Combustion Engines (since 2011 "Automotive Powertrains"). Both chairs formed the basis of the »Competence Center of Automotive Technology Stuttgart«. In 2004, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Christian Reuss assumed the Chair of Automotive Mechatronics and provided the center with the desired expansion. All three chairs are members of the Managing Board of FKFS whose chairmanship rotates every two years. Since April 1, 2019, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Wagner has been the successor of J. Wiedemann, who retired as member of the Board of Management responsible for Automotive Engineering.

The strength of the FKFS can be found in its test benches, which are constantly undergoing further development. In autumn 2014, the large 1:1 vehicle wind tunnel was extensively modernised. Since 2015, the institute is also equipped with the Stuttgart driving simulator, the largest of its kind at a European research facility. In May 2019, three new test stands were put into operation: a high-performance electric drive train test stand, an Handling Roadway System and a hybrid engine test stand.

In 1971, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulf Essers was appointed to the Chair of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines of the University of Stuttgart and Director of the FKFS. In addition to his teaching and research activities, he devoted his time to planning and building a new institute on the university campus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen. The new facilities were completed in 1978 and expanded in 1988 by a model wind tunnel and a full-scale wind tunnel. Professor Essers established the new main research topic »Noise Reduction in Motor Vehicles and Engines«. Besides numerous projects on the reduction of engine and tire noise, a number of noise-reduced commercial vehicles were developed and produced. New and state-of-the-art engine test benches were equipped with the corresponding measurement technology and formed the basis for a successful research on engines while concentrating on the use of alternative fuels. In 1993, the addition of an acoustics installation converted the vehicle wind tunnel into the most efficient aeroacoustic wind tunnel in Europe.

After 1945, this tradition was continued by his successor, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Paul Riekert. Following the repair of damages incurred during the war, the wind tunnel has been available to the German and European automotive industry for two decades, making a considerable contribution to the leading position of Germany in the field of vehicle aerodynamics. Professor Riekert continued his work on vehicle dynamics that he had started before the war, and he developed the »Stuttgart Friction Meter« for investigating the non-skid property of tire-road combinations.

In 1930, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wunibald Kamm, the first Professor of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart, established the private and nonprofit Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS). Under his direction, the FKFS became the largest and one of the leading research institutes in the field of automotive engineering. In addition to numerous projects involving motor vehicles and their engines, a major focus of his work dealt with automotive aerodynamics. Professor Kamm developed the so-called K-back car – the prototype of an aerodynamically innovative passenger car – and built the first full-scale wind tunnel for motor vehicles.